Chancellor Bardo at Swain County High School.
Chancellor Bardo talks with students at Swain County High School.

CULLOWHEE - Speaking at Swain County High School during his recent visit to Bryson City as part of a series of Chancellor’s Regional Roundtable events across the mountains, Western Carolina’s Chancellor John Bardo said well-qualified students should not let concerns over money keep them from attending college.

Most universities offer financial aid in the form of federal and state grants or loans, along with merit- and need-based scholarships, Bardo said, noting that all Honors College students at Western are eligible for merit scholarships.

During the wide-ranging discussion with students, Bardo responded to questions and provided information about Western’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, about the new audio and video production studios set to open in late April, and about a number of academic programs including physical therapy, political science, foreign languages, business administration, electrical engineering, construction management and teacher education.

Bardo urged students to visit Cullowhee and other campuses where they might like to attend classes in order to find out if they feel at home in each location. He also warned them that they’ll be expected to manage their time without help from parents or teachers once they get to college. And he promised that Western will maintain its tradition of personal attention for each student, in spite of ambitious plans for expansion and improvements on the Cullowhee campus.

“We’re going to be a big university with small class sizes,” he said.

Western alum Steve Norman describes Con-Met's products.
Western alum Steve Norman (center) describes the products produced at Con-Met in Bryson City.

Earlier in the day, Bardo and several officials from Western toured the Bryson City production facilities of the American Floor Finishing Company, which uses woods from all over the world to make residential and commercial floors; and Consolidated Metco’s plant, which produces dashboards, door panels and other parts for heavy trucks. Later, Western’s group heard about the expansion plans for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. In each case, Bardo offered Western’s technical expertise, research capabilities and analytical skills to help businesses in Swain County remain productive and prosperous.

During the roundtable discussion with business leaders, government officials and others, Bardo outlined Western’s plans to remain engaged with the 23 counties in the university’s service region and to maintain strong academic programs for a growing student body from the area. The emphasis at Western, he said, is on helping the counties to keep or increase good jobs throughout the region and to provide career-focused education, which will prepare graduates for work close to home.

The next Chancellor’s Regional Roundtable is scheduled for April 28 at the university in Cullowhee.

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Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2004
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